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Nation: Mortgages

Fannie Mae vows to help borrowers

Fannie Mae, the biggest U.S. mortgage finance company, pledged yesterday to meet government goals for helping low-income borrowers buy homes after finding that it might have fallen short of some federally required targets last year. Initial findings show that Fannie missed targets in two lending areas by less than 1 percent last year, said Fannie Mae spokesman Brian Faith. Beginning Jan. 1, 2005, HUD required government-chartered Fannie Mae and smaller rival Freddie Mac to direct 56 percent of their mortgage financing by 2008 to home purchases by people with incomes no greater than the median of their areas. The federal guideline for Fannie's financing of such loans has risen from 52 percent for last year and 50 percent for 2004.


Sprint Nextel spinoff gets step closer

Sprint Nextel Corp., the third-largest wireless services provider, cleared one of the last hurdles to spinning off its local-phone unit after resolving complaints by union members. The Communications Workers of America, which represents 3,800 of the local division's 20,000 employees, agreed to withdraw protests filed with state regulators, Sprint and the CWA said yesterday. In return, Sprint agreed to talks with the CWA over the new company's health care and employment plans. CWA members also will be eligible for bonuses up to $2,000 based on the performance of the business. The spinoff, to be called Embarq Corp., will occur in the second quarter, Sprint said in a filing.

This column was compiled from dispatches by Bloomberg News.

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